MODALITY

Modality is the language user’s attitude towards the world. It is related to things such as certainty, possibility, willingness, obligation, necessity and ability.

may | might + as well

If you want to make an unenthusiastic suggestion or say you are not enjoying, interested in, or approving of something, then you can use this grammar structure with ‘may as well‘ or ‘might as well‘. Here are some examples.  The first is a student speaking test example: You might as well just open the door to an unknown person. TLC female Mexico B2 Expert …

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‘AS’ + pronoun + ‘USED’ + to-infinitive

Student example in a speaking test: I don’t think that they pay enough attention towards the national customs as they used to do those days. TLC female Sri Lanka B2 Point 236 in the category of MODALITY is defined: ‘as’ + pronoun + ‘used to’ to add background to a narrative, often to highlight something unusual A search in iWeb for: as_C _P used_V _TO _VV 1 AS …

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WOULD + adverb (wide range)

Let’s look at some examples of ‘would’ + a wide range of adverbs: They would eventually become the oppressive hand of the Russian government.  (Listen) What would normally take him maybe a day or something to solder by hand, he can do in a few minutes using this machine.  (Listen)   Point 234 in the category of MODALITY is defined: wide range of adverbs with ‘would’, including ‘undoubtedly’, ‘possibly’, ‘normally’, ‘personally’, ‘eventually’, ‘obviously’, ‘significantly’, …

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‘be careful not to disturb them’ (adjective + ‘NOT TO’ + infinitive)

Here’s a student example in a speaking test of ‘BE + adjective + not + to-infinitive‘ to give emphasis: When you walk, you should be careful not to disturb them because they are all below you. TLC male Sri Lanka B1 *We can also write: You should be careful that you do not disturb them… Point 230 in the category of MODALITY is defined as: ‘BE’ + ADJECTIVE + ‘NOT’ …

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used not to

The following rare student writing example shows how ‘used not to’ expresses modality: Also when I was younger, I used not to be allowed to drink coffee. PELIC Korean female level 3 grammar class. It sounds more natural to say: “I didn’t use to be allowed to drink coffee.” *In other words, she did not have permission to drink coffee.  Although now she is an adult and can. Point 227 …

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IF clause + SHALL clause

Here’s an expert example of using a conditional clause + ‘shall’ clause to express modality: Come on, if we don’t share a similar social consciousness, how shall we discuss social problems? Listen to this sentence. C2 point 225 in the category of MODALITY is defined: ‘shall’ in the main clause after an ‘if-‘ clause conditionals Long open queries are impossible on iWeb, so here we first look for the …

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adverb RESPONSE TOKENS

When you ‘listen’ to someone speaking in a conversation, you can respond with short phrases that add to the conversation. These utterances carry information and sometimes a single word like an adverb is all you might say. C2 point 224 in the category of MODALITY/adverbs is defined: adverbs expressing certainty as short responses Here is …

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IT NEEDS REPLACING. (‘need’ + gerund)

Although gerunds are covered in a few different ways across a few CEFR levels in the English Grammar Profile, there is no entry given to the use of a gerund after ‘need’ as MODALITY which is listed by PEARSON: GSE 63 B2 ‘need’ with verbs in the gerund to express necessity. ‘need’ + Verb Phrase …

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‘would rather’ | ‘it’s time’ + PAST TENSE CLAUSE

Here we look at examples of using ‘the past tense’ in a way that is not referring to past time.  In these EXPERT EXAMPLES: It’s time we started to think about the environment and a little bit less about money. Isle of Man Newspapers As an environmentalist, we would rather that didn’t happen. TED ‘the past tense’ expresses a wish that is distanced from the real situation. In reality, they are not thinking …

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maybe | perhaps

A2 Point 13 in the category of MODALITY/adverbs: certainty and possibility (‘maybe’, ‘perhaps’), before a clause or ellipted clause. *Note that ‘maybe’ is also listed at A1. And ‘perhaps’ is A2 in the EVP regardless of position. An iWeb search for: . maybe|perhaps * * * 1 . MAYBE IT ‘S BECAUSE 2541 2 . …

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wouldn’t

Point 15 in MODALITY is defined: would negative forms *It is incredibly hard to find an example that is not already a part of another grammar point. PELIC STUDENT EXAMPLE: I’m convinced that it wouldn’t take much time to change the system  and think about how to add new things  in order to help people to start the workday in a more enjoyable manner. French male level 4 writing class. An iWeb search for: would _XX * * * 1 WOULD NOT BE …

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You might

Point 92 in MODALITY: ‘might’ to make polite suggestions and give advice. We cannot automatically check a corpus for usage, but we can follow the EGP examples which both contain the pronoun ‘you’. An iWeb search for: You might * * * 1 YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO 32578 You might be able to use a hammer …

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modal verb (question)

Here are more overlapping points across the English Grammar Profile.  We have included their examples when needed too elaborate: A2 point 14 in CLAUSES: AFFIRMATIVE interrogative clauses (‘yes/no’ forms) with modal auxiliary verbs. Would you like to come with me? Will you go with me? Can I come tomorrow to collect it? (Can you…? is listed at A1) Shall we meet at 7.30 pm? (Here are many …

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COULD (range)

A2 point 52 in MODALITY: ‘could’ with a limited range of verbs to make suggestions. B1 point 78 in MODALITY: affirmative form of ‘could’ to talk about ability. B1 point 79 in MODALITY: ‘could’ with an increasing range of verbs to make suggestions. An iWeb search for: could _VVI 1 COULD GET 239338 TLC STUDENT …

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